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Adhiban gets the better of Stefanova to share lead


Gibraltar: Grandmaster and former national champion B Adhiban crashed through the defences of former women’s world champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria to remain in joint lead in the Masters section of Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival here.

Scoring his fourth victory in as many rounds, Adhiban kept pace with second seed Hikaru Nakamura of United States, Renier Vazquez Igarza of Spain and wonder-kid Wei Yi of China, all of whom have four points apiece with six rounds still remaining in the 175000 Pounds Sterling (Approx. Rs. 1.7 Crores) prise money festival.

It was a rather dull day for highest rated Indian P Harikrishna as he was held to an easy draw by Michael Roiz of Israel. The Indian, however, remains within striking distance of the leaders with 3.5 points in his kitty from four games.

With four players in the front, Harikrishna shares the fifth spot along with top seed former world champion Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria.

M R Lalith Babu is another Indian among 12 players on the heels of the leaders.

Among other Indians in the fray, Surya Shekhar Ganguly tried hard but could only share the point with compatriot V Vishnu Prasanna, who is playing his best chess in recent times. Also inching up to three points were S P Sethuraman, who defeated Padmini Rout, Sandipan Chanda after getting the better of Xander Wemmers of Holland and Debashis Das, who had an easy outing against Andres Guerrero Vargas of Venezuela.

In a notable result, Soumya Swaminathan held Bela Khotenashvili of Georgia to a creditable draw.

Grandmaster Deep Sengupta was however on the receiving end against Yangyi Yu of China.

Adhiban was in his elements against Stefanova out of a Grunfeld defense game. The Indian has been steadily climbing the rating charts in recent months and this game was another attestation to the fact that he is ready to march in to top 100 of world rankings soon.

Stefanova sacrificed a pawn on the king side to take advantage of weaknesses on the other flank but Adhiban skilfully entered a better endgame where the perfect calculation triumphed over judgement. Marching his pawn to seventh rank in quick time, Adhiban won a piece to register a tricky victory with black pieces.

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